Campbell River RCMP say officers were called to a report that multiple teenagers were trying to start fights with homeless people in the downtown core.
The teenagers, who RCMP say in a Facebook post, were predominantly in pickup trucks and were highly intoxicated.
“It truly was the saddest of situations,” said Const Maury Tyre in the Facebook post. “A group of privileged youth taking on some of our towns [sic] least privileged and hoping to provoke a street war. In recent weeks similar events have occurred where jacked up pickups have chased and egged the homeless and thrown rocks.”
The post says police can see the frustration that is caused by crime issues that accompany homeless and addiction issues, but vigilante justice is not an effective way to handle the situation.
Several of the youth were apprehended by police who continue to investigate.
“Add to the fact that most of these teens were highly intoxicated and you have an extreme recipe for disaster, one that could very well end tragically with someone’s death,” the Facebook post says. “As none of the youth were 19, it was not as if they had ventured into the downtown core late at night to enjoy the night life and something bad happened, they were there for one reason only.”
RCMP say attacking homeless people only encourages them to arm themselves for self-defence and can make the situation more dangerous.
“Quite frankly our community is better than this, and these young people should be ashamed of their actions,” Tyre said.
In response to a commenter on Facebook saying he is glad to see the kids doing something about the rising crime, Campbell River RCMP said there are better ways for the community to address concerns.
“[H]ow about teaching them to get involved in politics to make long term effective change instead of just getting drunk and looking for a fight… ” the RCMP’s comment says.
Another commenter responded by saying waiting for people to get involved in politics will take too long to address the situation and that he has no sympathy in this situation.
To this, RCMP said picking fights with the homeless is just creating more of the same issue rather than solutions.
“There’s no excuse for drunken stupidity looking for a fight, if that’s the way you act when you drink then you shouldn’t drink,” RCMP said.
“Hmm anti social intoxicated behaviour, abusing others. It sounds a lot like the issue they’re fighting against. The overwhelming apathy for people to truly get involved in effective society is amazing, look at some of the biggest job shortages right now, they’re all jobs that seem to work in the service of others, because it’s become all about the me and very little about the we.”
RCMP are asking anyone with information about the young people and their actions to contact police at 250-286- 6221.